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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs Houston Rockets

The suddenly hot San Antonio Spurs take on fellow tanking Texas team.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at San Antonio Spurs Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

A win streak! Two is a streak, right? Back home in friendly confines, the San Antonio Spurs have won a couple of games in a row heading into two straight games against the only team in the Western Conference with a worse record than them. I will repeat almost every time that I write something on here that I do not believe this roster is as bad as their record suggests. Yes, the Spurs beat a Pacers team missing Tyrese Haliburton but they did so without Keldon Johnson, just like they beat the Jazz before that without Devin Vassell.

Vassell has only played 30 games this season, but when he has been active he has been one of the Spurs best players, and 9 of our 16 wins have come in those 30 games. A fully healthy season from him probably sees us more in Thunder territory (28 wins) than the basement of the league.

San Antonio Spurs (16-47) vs Houston Rockets (13-49)

March 4, 2023 | 7:00 PM CT

Watch: CW35 | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: Khem Birch- knee, out; Keldon Johnson- foot, doubtful; Romeo Langford- abductor, questionable; Malaki Branham- back- questionable; Julian Champagnie- two way, out; Doug McDermott- thumb, out; Devin Vassell- injury management (knee), out

Rockets Injuries: None

What to Watch For

  • As Vassell works his way back into the rotation, I am curious to see what impact this has on Malaki Branham’s involvement in the game in general and the offense specifically. In the month of February, Branham attempted 14 or more shots eight times and played over thirty minutes that often as well. He played twenty minutes and attempted 10 shots against the Pacers. His development has been a pleasant surprise but a big part of that growth will be learning how he fits when the Spurs are closer to fully healthy. Vassell will be out for this one, so look for Branham’s involvement to tick back up.
  • Jeremy Sochan recorded his first double double against the Pacers after coming one rebound short of the mark five different times this season. He already looks like an excellent selection by the Spurs and has developed by leaps and bounds this season. Can he get another one against Houston?
  • Three point shooting. The Rockets are the worst three point shooting team in the NBA, which is an interesting turn of events for the franchise most associated with ‘no midrange’ analytics. The Spurs, meanwhile, give up the highest three point percentage of any team in the NBA. Which bad statistic will play itself out in this game?
  • Youth. These are to extremely young and inexperienced teams, both building players for the future and hoping for more exciting talents to come. What we see tonight may be more akin to an AAU contest than an NBA basketball team as both teams show glimpses of the future amidst a sea of bad decisions at both ends of the floor.

For a Rockets perspective, visit The Dream Shake.

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